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Creative Risk is Worth It: Go Looking for Trouble

by Shane Mehling
creativity

danger

There is no better feeling than when the work is easy. When you go back to a project and you feel the ideas flowing and your hands moving effortlessly and everything seems right with the world it can really be such an amazing moment. You once again feel like you have it all figured out and what you’re doing is worthwhile.

Then, you realize the problem.

It probably won’t come right then, of course. You will finish up and feel excited to get back to the project the next day and go to sleep feeling like the weight is a little lighter. But then at some point you look back on what you finished, what came so easily and effortlessly, and you realize it was so simple because, well, it’s easy to make something that isn’t good. And what you did is not good.

The back-breaking, eye-straining, brain-cooking hard work behind art is not an enviable experience. When you have to fight for every inch, have no idea where you’re headed and accept that you’ll still be trying to finish this on your deathbed, it is a terribly rotten feeling. But there is no doubt that often these are the struggles that create the best art, when the blood, sweat and tears are mixed in with the finished product.

Yes, there are plenty of artists who can seemingly churn out an endless supply of great art. There are also people who consistently release mediocre or even terrible work at the same clip. But all of this is irrelevant. There are those remembered for a body of work and those admired for one single brilliant thing. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, only the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end.

The author Philip Roth said he looks for what resists him when working. Where he faces roadblocks is where he knows he can make progress. He goes looking for trouble. Try and see what happens when you do the same.

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Shane Mehling

Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noiserock bands.